Doug Burgum knocks Biden's 'wrong direction' for US, weighs in on Trump but won't say his name

The North Dakota governor launched his presidential bid last week.

June 12, 2023, 5:56 PM

After announcing his presidential bid last week, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum appeared on "GMA3" on Monday where he criticized the Biden administration, touted the importance of "innovation, not regulation" -- and briefly addressed Donald Trump's unprecedented second indictment.

Burgum, who has been campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire, said on "GMA3" that he's running for the White House because "the Biden administration has been 180 degrees in the wrong direction." The governor, though popular in his own state, enters the national stage lesser known than competitors like the former president or Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

A former software executive, Burgum reiterated the three pillars of his platform: the economy, energy and national security.

"The reason we wanted to run for president is simple. We think there's an opportunity with the federal government focusing on what the federal government is supposed to do ... improve the lives of every American," he said.

"The economy, inflation, taxes, spending" are "issues that we know that are important to most Americans," he said, as is security at home and abroad.

"The world right now is growing increasingly unstable," he said. "I never thought I'd tell my kids that we might be looking at World War III. But national security, border security: These are issues that are of great importance."

Burgum was also asked about his thoughts on artificial intelligence, given his background. He said the U.S. must continue to focus on it, since innovating will be key.

"Technology is changing every job, every company in every industry, at a very rapid pace," he said, later adding, "Anybody that says that we ought to stop developing AI would be like saying back during the 1980s that we should stop trying to win the nuclear arms race against Russia. This is going to be an important tool. America has the lead. We've got to continue to fight for the lead."

When pressed on the Republican primary front-runner, former President Trump, Burgum again stayed cleared of specifically saying his name. The governor has yet to say Trump's name since his campaign launch on Wednesday in Fargo, North Dakota.

However, Burgum did say he would "support whoever the Republican candidate is going forward in 2024" and, like other Republicans, suggested conservative voters think Trump's 37-count federal indictment is unfair.

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum reacts during an event for announcing he enters the 2024 presidential race, joining a growing field of candidates hoping to topple Donald Trump and secure the Republican nomination, in Fargo, N.D. June 7, 2023.
Dan Koeck/Reuters

"One thing I can tell you from talking to the voters [is] that people are very concerned about a double standard in this country," Burgum said. "They're concerned that if we have lost trust in our institutions, if we don't believe that the [Department of Justice] is going to enforce the laws equally between the two political parties, that's even more serious than the charges themselves."

Trump has been charged in Florida with willful retention of national defense information and conspiracy to obstruct justice, among other counts, and will be arraigned on Tuesday. He has said he is innocent.

Prosecutors outlined in Trump's indictment how he allegedly held onto government secrets after his presidency and resisted efforts to return them -- while sometimes sharing that sensitive information with people not authorized to see it.

Burgum previously told WMUR's Arielle Mitropoulos during a campaign stop in New Hampshire: "It's great that we live in a country where people are innocent until they're proven guilty so the courts can play that out."

He declined then to say whether he thought Trump should drop out of the race, saying he believes that should be left up to the voters.

Burgum is so far polling at the bottom of the GOP field, but he told WMUR that he has always come from behind.

"When you start out, you start out by just saying, 'Hey, we got to focus on making sure people know who we are'. And that's what we're going to be doing is working hard to get out across Iowa and New Hampshire and make sure people understand our story and the issues that we're talking about," he said.

In a bid for more name recognition in those early nominating states, Burgum has made his first TV and radio candidate ad buy, spending more than $3 million in the Iowa and New Hampshire TV markets over the next few weeks, according to his campaign.

In one new ad released this week, Burgum describes his agenda with three action items: "First, fix this crazy economy. Second, unleash American energy production. Third, rebuild the military to win the cold war with China."

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